Chapter 12

Several days have passed.

Caleb’s day was filled with learning various arts and practices.

In the morning, it was reading the history of sword arts and the basics of their foundation.

In the afternoon, he would spend two hours with Zao to practice his dancing. At first, he would make progress but would hit a rough spot. Zao was a great teacher; soon, Caleb would get the hang of it. 

During the nights, Caleb would sneak off and begin to expel and experiment with his magic.

“Lightning Bolt!”

The loud, booming sound of the blot leaving his hand strikes a tree, slicing clean through. It quickly falls over and lands with a thud. 

Ever since his battle with the assassin, Caleb has felt different using magic. It was the first time he killed anything or anyone with his abilities, and it had caused a unique connection to him. Raising his hand once more, he fires another bolt of lightning that strikes a stone, shattering it in one blow.

“My magic is stronger; I am sure of it.” Caleb examined the impacts of both objects; the effect was way more destructive than a couple of weeks ago.

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A confident look appears on his face as he channels the power within his body to his hand. Sparks of electricity flowed off his body and traveled down to his hand, collecting into such a fine point before being expelled at incredible speeds. It roars as it leaves his hand and slices through another tree. The tree shatters from the impact and shifts before falling to the ground.

“Wish Tia wasn’t so busy.”

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He was missing her; she would usually be watching closely and there for him whenever he pushed too far. However, she was strictly placed on house arrest in the manor. Her father didn’t want her anywhere too far, so she was constantly being watched. This didn’t stop Caleb from pushing forward and unleashing another lightning bolt at the same tree he hit.

A white smoke trails from his hand. He braces for the pain soon to arise, but nothing happens. Just a tingling sensation running up his arm as the feedback of the spells cast has felt less self-destructive.

“How far can we push then.”

With a smile, Caleb breathes heavily, sparks expelling from his lips. They begin to travel and gather within his hand once more, and he fires a blast that rips through the trees and stops before vanishing.

His hand is stiff, but the pain is barely a problem. Caleb looks at himself, surprised that even after five casts of magic, he is still strong enough to move his arm.

Caleb does decide to push on. The moment he does, a warm, gentle hand lands on his shoulder. He turns quickly to see Mei, dressed head to toe in a black camo attire.

“Mei?” Caleb looks at her, shocked since she directly interrupted him. Zao appears behind her.

“Father asked me if I could sneak up on a distracted man and disarm him.”

“Disarm?”

“Stopping you from hurting yourself. It won’t be good if you exert yourself in such a manner.”

“Thank you for your concern, but this is my choice. Now let me go.”

“Very well.” She obeys his command and steps back.

“Don’t fret, Mei. I’ve watched Caleb grow up, and stubbornness is certainly a prominent trait of his.”

“Are you going just to watch or keep talking?”

“By all means, proceed, young Master.”

Taking a deep breath. Caleb draws a line of blue in front of his chest with the tips of his fingers. Creating a few hand signals and reciting words channels forth an arrow of lightning between his fingers.

“Voltaic Bolt!”

Upon uttering the newest spell that Caleb could improvise, the arrow releases from between his fingers. It whirls past a tree and misses. The glowing bright energy shifts and shoots into the air before striking the tree on the mark.

Clap Clap Clap

“Impressive, young Master. I see you have improved your spell list.” Zao comments.

“It’s still a work in progress. However, being able to control its path mid-cast is something handy. The power is a little lacking. Oh well, just got to keep practicing until I run out of magic.”

“I’m afraid you are at your limit.”

“What do you mean, Zao? I feel like I can do another one-“

Caleb looks down at his hands to see them dripping in blood. With a shocked expression, Caleb realizes his arms have been numb and moving them was sluggish. Taking a deep sigh, Caleb admits his limitations.

“Here, Master, it would be better to stop the bleeding.” Mei approaches, takes a piece of cloth from her pocket, and gently wraps his hands. Blood slowly seeps through them; she puts pressure on the wounds, and her soft hands catch Caleb off guard.

“T-Thank you.” Caleb feels a little fuzzy from the blood loss, and Zao suggests returning to the manner and getting the wounds a proper look at.

With the night ending, Caleb has begun to grasp the idea of magic far better than before, and his skill with them has only improved.

*

The days begin to pass. The endless routine of practicing and training continues. Fatigue was slowly setting in from the physical and mental strain on me. However, today, of all days, came as a surprise as there was a sudden commotion at the front gates of the manor. Leaving my studies on hold, I investigated.

Peering around the top stairwell, I looked down to see my father speaking with a man in armor. A familiar voice calls out to me.

“Well, if it isn’t my little brother!”

Without thinking, I raced down the stairs and stared at the brother I hadn’t seen in a long while. Dunick stood tall and gallant as ever. His long blonde hair was tied into a low-hanging ponytail behind his back.

“Dunick! I-I can’t believe it!” I was stunned. I never expected to see him back after he left with his wife.

“Good to see you too, Caleb. Sorry for leaving. But know that I am happy to see you happy and doing well. When I got word that an assassin had attacked you, I raced from my company a few days ahead. I hope Yuno can forgive me.” He has a worried expression on his face upon mentioning her name.

“If it was to see your brother, I bet she would understand.”

“Come here! Let me get a good look at you!”

“W-What? H-Hey! Let me go!”

Dunick picks me up despite his heavy armor pulling him down; he tosses me lightly into the air before putting me down. I stumble back in a daze.

“Looks like you two are already catching up well,” Father speaks.

“There’s a lot we need to catch up on, don’t we, Caleb?”

“We sure do! I bet you have all sorts of stories to tell!”

Dunick looked at everything before sitting at a table with me. I was excited to talk to him face-to-face again.

A long talk ensued as learning about his journey and life with Lady Yuno was undoubtedly a pleasant listen.

The hours seemed to eat away at the day as we grew tired and hungry. I still had my other lessons for the day and attended them.

Having Dunick around was a nice feeling. Tia had introduced herself quite soon after he had arrived. He embraced her, which startled her quite quickly. But his natural positive attitude was enough to get her comfortable talking with him.

A smile across my face; my next days with Dunick would indeed be nothing but fun.

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